By John Boyle
Tryout players come and go this time of year all the time with very few people taking notice, but when Brian Banks gets a look with the Seahawks next month, it will be hard not to pull for this underdog.
If you haven’t heard Banks’ story by now, here’s the short version: while a standout linebacker at Polytechnic High in Long Beach, Banks was accused, and later convicted of rape. He said at the time that he didn’t commit the crime, but his attorney convinced him to take a plea deal because, as Banks told the Sporting News, “She told me I was a big black teenager, and no jury would believe anything I said.”
Banks spent five years in prison, then when he got out of prison on probation, he had to register as a sex offender and wear an ankle monitor.
Well as it turns out, Banks was in fact innocent, and when his accuser finally admitted as much, it led to the conviction eventually being throw out. Banks, 26, is now a free man after losing a decade of his life because of a crime he didn’t commit, and even if the odds are stacked against him, he now plans to chase the football dream that was taken from him 10 years ago.
And one of the NFL teams willing to take a look at Banks is the Seahawks, according to this Rick Reilly column on ESPN.com.
It’s not a surprise that the Seahawks are a team willing to give Banks a shot. Pete Carroll was the head coach at USC when the Trojans recruited Banks, and even without that personal connection, Carroll has shown time and time again that he’s willing to give second chances to players that other teams may have given up on. Now there is a good chance that Banks won’t get a contract from the Seahawks or any other team. Players have a hard time making it in the NFL after missing a year or two, let alone when they haven’t played in a decade. But as long as Banks is chasing his NFL dream, he will have a lot of people rooting for him to defy the odds.
A team spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Banks will be on hand for a workout on June 7.